Somebody at work regards me as an oracle of knowledge and wisdom, despite how many times I’ve tried to demonstrate to her just how extensively I’m not. She hears about how often I fail to follow my own advice but still somehow trusts me. I suppose it doesn’t matter how well I live up to my own standards if admiration of my character is of only secondary importance. To my benefit, telling her that we have a choice in how we respond to things, including our own emotions before they’re expressed outwardly, reminds me of what I need to put into practice.
(I still don’t live by my own example, or however you’d word that in a non-contradictory way.)
Part of the reason this person likes my advice is that I don’t turn it into a social conversation. Neither of us is a social person in the extroverted chit-chatty sort of way, and I don’t need to know details about her life as she doesn’t need to know details about mine. I use coffee in part to turn off my own inhibitions – the good ones that I treasure and value and wish I could use more – so I can appear to be social at work. When I started a new job I was intent on making it a place where I felt I worked, instead of a place I would’ve cried on my way to if I ever felt fully awake while getting there. This requires making conversation, and having something to talk about. It requires the people I work with getting to know me, and I already regret how far I’ve gone in revealing details. The best I can do with balancing my desire to keep everything siloed is to selectively reveal each endeavour to segregated and/or trusted contacts and withhold as many specifics as necessary for the conversation to still be anything of value. This coworker helps keep me in check by never giving her own specifics. To unlearn the habit of elaborating has been on my list for a long time.
It’s too late to undo the contamination between sectors of my life, and to take back the information I naively gave for free. However, it’s not too late to gradually lean back, and start to converse as indirectly as I can without appearing suspicious. That will be less of a problem at work than anywhere else – this is the least likely location for me to get drunk…when other people are around.